BOYS WITH CARS by Anita Majumdar (Nightswimming/Young Peoples Theatre, 165 Front East). Runs to April 1. $10-$34. See listing. 416-862-2222..
BOYS WITH CARS by Anita Majumdar (Nightswimming/Young Peoples Theatre, 165 Front East). Runs to April 1. $10-$34. See listing. 416-862-2222. Rating: NNNN
Naz (writer/performer/choreographer Anita Majumdar) is fuming at the start of Boys With Cars, communicating her irritation not with words but rather Indian dance.
Its the wedding party of former school friends Buddy and Candice, and Naz is part of a troupe entertaining for the party, dancing Slumdog Millionaire songs for white-people weddings, which she demonstrates as a parody of true Indian choreography.
Shes really there, though, to see her boyfriend, the British-born Lucky Punjabi, who left after he heard that she and Buddy, his best friend, were fooling around. Initially she blames herself, but will the aggressive Lucky listen to her side of the story? No way, even though earlier he gave her his most cherished possession, a mint from The Keg.
Were in Port Moody, B.C., and theyve all gone to Port Moody Secondary School, which Naz calls PMSS.
Majumdar, who performs all the roles, has written an exciting and scarily true tale of teen male machismo the women in these guys lives are all bitches, whether theyre seen as girlfriends or whores and the reactions of the young women, first disbelieving and trying to ignore how theyre viewed, finally find means to empower themselves.
The first part of the play adapted by Majumdar and director Brian Quirt from Majumdars The Fish Eyes Trilogy focuses on Naz, forced to give Buddy a hand job in the school bleachers while the Caucasian Candice watches as she performs her own version of Indian dance. Buddy wont accept responsibility, Candice is furious and Lucky rejects her.
The second section, focusing on Candice, begins with Majumdar sitting at a makeup table and putting on blue contact lenses and a blond wig. She proceeds to give a YouTube lesson to non-Caucasian teens, in the process turning her brown skin white and filling us in on Candices version of Nazs tale, some upsetting family stories and her desire to study Indian dancing in England.
The production is sometimes funny, often upsetting and filled with dance and the gestures that accompany it. Majumdar makes fine use of those gestures during some of the dialogue, emphasizing and giving fire to each speakers points. Those hand movements and the dances too to Chris Browns Kiss Kiss (yes, Browns assault of Rihanna echoes throughout the story) and other pop tunes emotionally expressive, help define each of the characters.
Its also buoyed by the design: Jackie Chaus set and costumes, Rebecca Picheracks lighting and Christopher Stantons sound and projection.
I dont think Ive ever seen such pent-up anger on the stage of Young Peoples Theatre. Its totally appropriate and dramatically real.